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Chapter 10: Damage Control
Ginny stood in the window in her office watching the reporters outside of the Daily Prophet building. They had been camped out there all day and she was supposed to go do an interview with the Magical Times on her lunch hour. She was gearing herself up to go out and endure even more questions about her supposed affair.
It was the worst Monday ever. She was egged on the way into work by an upset citizen. Bobby had blocked his first harmful spell thrown at her during the entire nine months they’ve been together. Knox took a tomato in the face to keep it from hitting Ginny. It was a terrible day.
She never understood why people got so worked up over people they’ve never meant. It seemed ridiculous that people confessed their love for Harry even though they’ve never met him. Sure he did some amazing things but that wasn’t insight into him. Their obsession made her spend her morning cleaning egg from her blouse.
Her whole public life was ridiculous. She didn’t think watching her go to work, shop, or have dinner was news worthy. Having a drink with a friend should not be a national scandal.
She sighed. She should really be over the fact that her privacy is always going to be invaded but when something like this happens it couldn’t help but hurt. Especially when the entire wizarding world thinks you’ve hurt the boy who lived twice.
There was a knock on her office door, “come in.”
“Are you ready?” Asked Mark coming inside
She turned from the window, “I suppose”
“I just want to say that woman is vicious,” Mark said in a mixture of allure and terror
Ginny chuckled, “Astoria Malfoy is lovely.”
“You should have seen her. She can cut people up with her tongue and then sweet talk them into anything. Here are you final estimates,” he handed her a scroll. He spent the morning getting numbers from Astoria Malfoy for the carnival. “The man at the printers went so stiff I thought she had petrified him with words.”
Ginny chuckled as she unrolled the scroll, “this is barely anything”
“Clearly,” she rolled it back up and tucked it in her bag.
“You look really good today”
“Thanks,” she smiled nervously.
“Did you get a massage or something?” He smirked knowingly
“A down under massage, is this shag glow?”
“I am not answering that”
“You don’t have to, I’m happy for you. You seem relaxed. Now let’s discuss your interview for the Times.”
“Way to tense me back up. I should call this off,” she said gathering her things.
“I already told them you are not going to talk about that certain photo”
“Like that’s ever stopped them before”
“If they do, I’ll whack the interviewer on the knuckles with my wand and usher you away”
“Promise,” Ginny said leading the way out of her office.
Ginny’s car slowed down in front of the lifts in the garage, she put on her sunglasses to shield herself from the flashing lights of the cameras before she and Mark climbed out of the car.
“MRS. POTTER ARE THE RUMORS OF YOU AND DRACO MALFOY TRUE?”
“HOW COULD YOU CHEAT ON THE CHOSEN ONE”
“WHY WERE YOU HAVING DRINKS WITH MR. MALFOY”
Ginny ignored them as her team fought their way through the crowd to the lift. She let out a sigh when the doors closed. Mark got off at the Atrium level to greet the reporter from the Times and Ginny continued to level one where Harry’s office was only to find out he was downstairs. She dropped her bag and coat in his office and went down the hall to the conference room to wait for her interview.
The door to the conference room opened and Ginny stood, “Mrs. Potter it’s so nice to meet you,” said the young man who entered with Mark.
“You as well,” she shook his hand, “please have a seat”
“Let me just begin by saying you look absolutely radiant.”
“Thank you,” she blushed slightly, hopping he couldn’t see through her.
“So let’s dive in, you’re working with a charity called The Last Bell and I understand you’re putting together a carnival.”
“Yes it’s going to be our first major event and everything has been donated or given to us at a discount. The idea is to raise money for more programs and awareness to let everyone know what we’re doing. It will be during Easter Break for all the young people who are studying.”
“The chairperson for this event is Astoria Malfoy,” oh god here we go, Ginny thought as the young man went on.
“She’s been wonderful to work with. She’s done positive work for other charities. We are so excited to have her on board.”
“Great, do the rumors of you and her ex-husband affect your working relationship?”
“Not at all because those are in fact just rumors”
Mark ran across the room and hit the young man on the knuckles with his wand. His right hand turned into a lobster claw. “HEY!” The reporter shouted in fury.
“Now, now Mark,” Ginny hissed, “turn the nice man’s hand back,” when the interviewer wasn’t looking she winked at him.
“Sorry I must have gotten carried away,” he transformed it back, “but stay on topic,” he eyed the man severely.
“I’m so sorry about that,” Ginny said sincerely although she didn’t mean it, “As you were saying”
He shook his head and picked up his quill, “you were having a drink”
“Ahem,” Mark cleared his throat.
The young man sighed, “What can we expect at the carnival?”
“You’re back,” Ginny said entering Harry’s office. He was standing behind his desk shuffling through papers.
“I was at a meeting,” he said not looking up. “Gail told me you were in with the Times, how did it go?”
“How do you think it went,” she said picking up her coat from the back of the chair and putting it back on.
He sighed, “I’m sure it will blow over.”
“Perhaps after a few more eggs and poisonous potions in my post… anyway I have to head back to work,” she put her bag on her shoulder.
“Who sent you poisonous potions?” He looked up at her alarmed.
“No one but I get my post on Saturdays and I’ll bet you law enforcement will have to confiscate several letters,” she explained. “I can handle having eggs thrown at me.”
“I can’t handle eggs being thrown at you!”
“It’s alright Bobby and Knox came in handy for the first time today, blocking spells and food.”
Harry walked around his desk and leaned against the front, “come here,” he motioned for Ginny to come over to him. She dropped her bag and positioned herself between his legs. “I’m sorry about all of this.”
“No worries, I knew what I was getting into when I married one of the most famed Wizards in the world,” she said not looking up at him and playing with his tie.
“That doesn’t make it okay,” he said rubbing her back tenderly. “Will you promise me not to go anywhere without Bobby and Knox,” she looked up at him from beneath her eye lashes. “I know how you like to wander off on your own but I don’t want anything to happen to you.”
“Nothing’s going to happen to me Harry.”
“Just to be safe, promise”
She rolled her eyes, “I promise.”
Harry studied her for a moment he tilted his head to the side to get a better look at her, “You look gorgeous today.”
She smiled, “you’re the third person who’s told me that.”
“But I’m the one who caused it,” he smirked.
“Don’t do that”
“What,” he asked innocently.
“Act like your hot stuff” He laughed and leaned down and kissed her. She wrapped her arms around his neck and parted her lips. Completely ready to enjoy the moment when the door opened.
“Minister you wanted to see me,” a man’s voice interrupted them and Ginny stepped away from Harry. “I’m terribly sorry to interrupt, sir.”
“It’s fine Frank, come on in,” he sighed, “Ginny this is Frank Davenport, the head of transportation. Frank my wife Ginny.”
“It’s nice to meet you,” Ginny shook his hand. “I’ll let you two get on with it, I’ll see you tonight.”
“Hey Gin I haven’t seen you all day,” said Joan when Ginny stepped off the lift in the sports offices. “You look great did you get your hair done?”
“No but thank you,” she went to get herself a cup of coffee to replace the lunch she didn’t have. The time she spent in bed with Harry had done her some good. She knew she felt excellent but she wished people would stop saying that.
“Mrs. Potter,” Carmen her secretary came over to her. She looked over at Joan before she said anything. “Can you give us a minute?”
“Yes,” she walked away
“There’s someone in your office that won’t go away,” she whispered. “Draco Malfoy”
“Thank you,” she walked pass her and went into her office. “What are you doing here?”
Draco turned around in her desk chair, “so much for the element of surprise”
“Can you just explain why you’re here and go. I have a lot of stuff to do and the rumor mill is working overtime about us,” she said as she placed down her coffee and took off her coat.
“I was concerned, you didn’t respond to my letter.” He said seriously. “It took like all day to write, I don’t know how to be comforting. Then I couldn’t send it until I got home, to avoid the nosey sods and as usual I was late.”
She laughed at him, “Sorry about not responding. Something came up and I got side track.”
“So are you alright and is everything okay between us.”
“No, everything is not alright,” she sighed, “It’s quite funny really. I now know how my daughter feels. So when I tell her I understand what she’s going through it will no longer be a lie.”
“Ginny I’m sorry”
“You have nothing to be sorry about. You are an amazing friend. Our friendship may still be in the early stages but you’ve been there for me.”
Draco chuckled, “that’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.”
“It’s true. However we can still be friends but we’re going to have to cool it a bit.”
He stood from her chair, “I see…Potter’s pissed huh.”
“No this is my decision. I’m doing this because whether I like it or not we’re in this position together and hanging out with you is not the best idea for the time being.”
“You’re going to miss me Weasley, but if this is what you really want.”
It wasn’t, but it was the right thing to do, “yes”
“Alright” He didn’t argue although he didn’t want to agree. But if it’s what she wanted then he had no other choice. “I suppose, I’ll just see you around then.”
He put his hand on the doorknob and before he opened it he said, “You look lovely today,” he left her alone in her office.
She felt bad but it was what she had to do. She was married and even if she liked being around Draco, Harry came first.
Ginny was in front of her window again when there was a knock on her office door, “come in.”
“Mrs. Potter the cars here whenever you’re ready,” said Bobby
“Thank you but I think I’m going to stay late,” she said still staring out the window.
“Okay but Harry’s waiting in the car.”
Ginny turned from the window. She was surprised by this bit of information, “is he really?” Bobby nodded, “I’ll be right there,” he closed the door and she slowly gathered her belongings dreading her exit.
She walked through Diagon Alley with her head held high, her eyes hidden behind her shades. She knew the truth and that’s all that mattered, or at least that’s what she kept telling herself. Once out on the street Knox’s opened the car door for her and she slid inside. “What are you doing here?”
“Going home,” he looked at his watch, “I’m making it home by six per your request.”
“You don’t sound like you think it’s wonderful.”
“I’m just tried,” she smiled weakly
“So what’s this I hear about a lobster claw?”
Ginny chuckled, “you heard about that”
“Stewart was pissed, my darling wife let her assistant turn the reporter from the Magical Times hand into a lobster claw,” he laughed
“He was only doing his job”
“Stewart’s head is spinning given the whole situation.”
“Well that reporter was told not to ask about the photo and I can’t be held responsible for what Mark does when he isn’t listened to.”
“You’ve got a loyal one there. He’d walk through fire for you”
“Would you,” she turned to look at him.
Harry thought for a moment, “probably not”
“WHAT!” She hit him on the arm.
“We’ve got kids. We can’t leave them parentless,” he laughed, “besides there’s no sense in both of us dying.” She hit him again, “but I promise to get Mark there as soon as possible to save you.”
“Fine Harry Potter, don’t expect me to save you either,” she turned from him and crossed her arms.
“You know I’m joking right?” Harry said to her expression. He tried to touch her but the car stopped in front of their house and she got out. He rolled his eyes and followed her out and up the stairs.
“Evening Potters,” smiled Jim
“Evening Jim,” said Ginny hanging up her coat and going upstairs.
Harry hung up his coat and went into the living room. Lily was sitting on the floor at the coffee table doing her homework, she was singing along to the wireless. “Hi love,” Harry bent down and kissed her on top of her head.
“What are you doing here?” She asked surprised to see him.
“I live here”
“I know, it’s just you’re never home at this time,” she explained.
“Well I am today,” he said picking up the post that had been left on the writing table. “So how are you?”
“How’s school going, specifically potions,” He pulled all the bills out of the pile and stacked them separately for Ginny to take care of.
“I’m not failing… yet anyway”
Harry turned to her, “that’s what I like to hear, sort of.”
“Can I go to Raleigh’s?”
“When you’re done with your homework, take Ben and be back by ten,” he left the sitting room and went upstairs. Ginny was changing from her work clothes. “You know I was kidding right?” Ginny glared at him and crossed the room into the bathroom and closed the door.
Harry groaned and threw himself on the bed, he was joking and now she was mad at him again. He didn’t bother to sit up when the bathroom door opened, he didn’t move at all until Ginny climbed on top of him. “I’m sorry”
“You have nothing to be sorry about, I know you were kidding,” she laughed. “It’s fun to watch you squirm.”
“Gee thanks love,” he ran his hand through her hair and kissed her. He rolled them over so he was on top of her and climbed off the bed.
“Hey! Where are you going,” protested Ginny
“I’m coming back,” he locked their bedroom door and pushed the large armchair in front of the fireplace. Then he climbed back on the bed to Ginny.
She used his tie to pull him closer to her and kissed him. Harry pulled away from her to get her t-shirt over her head. He trailed kisses down her chest. He leaned up again when he got to her hips and pulled her sweatpants and knickers down. He repositioned himself between her legs and kissed her inner tights.
Ginny sighed as Harry flicked his tongue over her. She arched her back when he applied pressure to her. He took hold of her hips to keep her still as she moved pleased beneath his touch. Every time she moaned it turned him on, he loved the sound she made. It was highly motivating. He stuck his tongue inside of her, “Oh god,” she sighed
“Minister,” Randal’s voice came into the room. Harry closed his eyes tightly. He knew the armchair in front of the fireplace was a good idea. He just knew something like this would happen and Randal would have had a view of him going down on his wife.
“Randal get out of my floo!”
“I will floo you back in twenty minutes, now go!” He hissed angrily.
“It’s extremely important!”
“NOW,” he shouted
Ginny didn’t say anything until she heard the sound of Randal leaving. “We can stop if you need to,” she said breathlessly.
“No its fine don’t worry about it,” he crawled back up to her.
“But…” Harry captured her lips, she was extremely excited that he didn’t leave, he usually did. She gasped as Harry slid two fingers into her.
Harry filled his cheeks with air and let it out as his car pulled up in front of his house. He ran his hands over his f ace. He was too tired to get out of the car. He sat there for a moment trying to get the energy he needed but he was disturbed as the back of the car filled with light. A car pulled up behind him, he didn’t think anything of it as he heard the car door open and close.
It wasn’t until the person walked passed his window and up the path to his house. That his sudden rage worked as a motivator, he opened the car door, “Lily!”
She stopped walking halfway up the stairs and turned around. She smiled nervously, “Dad, I thought you were still here.”
“I bet you did, I thought I told you to be back by ten”
“Oh well you see…”
“Don’t bother staring the lie. Do you know what time it is,” he didn’t know himself as he looked at his watch. “It’s twelve thirty in the morning!”
“I lost track of time, I’m only a couple hours late.”
“That’s a couple hours too late and you have school tomorrow! You can forget ever going out again!” He hissed joining her on the stairs.
“DAD, this is so unfair!”
“You know what’s unfair, when I tell you to do something and you don’t do it! Now get in the house!” He shouted
“NOW” She dragged her feet up the rest of the stairs and opened the door. She was going to turn back to protest, “don’t turn back keep walking!” He said following her in. She stomped her feet all the way up the hall and the stairs, “LILY!” She stopped making noise.
“What’s going on,” Ginny said stepping out into the hall, she heard the shouting and Lily making noise, “are you just getting here? Where have you been?”
“Oh lay off, Dad already went through it,” Lily spat. She went into her room, slammed the door and locked it.
“Alohomora,” Harry unlocked the door and went inside, he didn’t raise his voice but he did speak with venom, “Lily, I am sick of this! I don’t know why you think you have the right to do whatever you want because you don’t. As much as you think you are all grown up, you are still a child. Whether you like it or not you have rules. I’m assuming you’re enjoying house arrest because you just made it worst. I don’t ever want to hear you speak to your mother like that again, now take your ass out in the hall and apologize to her.”
Lily didn’t dare question him. She went out into the hall, “sorry mum.”
Ginny crossed her arms and leaned against the door frame, “No you’re not… where were you?”
“I was at Raleigh’s”
“Go to bed,” Ginny turned and went into her room.
“You better get up by yourself in the morning,” Harry followed Ginny into their room and closed the door behind him. “You didn’t know she wasn’t here,” he said beginning to prep for bed.
“I was asleep,” Ginny said climbing back into bed, “I didn’t even know she went out.”
“She asked me I told her to come back by ten,” he went into the closet. “She was probably with that Fulton guy,” he angrily kicked off his shoes in the direction of his shoe rack. “How do you get through to her,” he continued coming out of the closet and wandering into the bathroom. “I don’t understand her,” he was mostly talking to himself, “you’re supposed to set a firm hand but she’s still a person who we really can’t control. Just because you give someone life, food, and shelter they think it’s okay if they walk all over you.”
“I hope you know I missed most of that,” Ginny said groggily rolling over to face him when he climbed into bed.
“What are we going to do about her?”
“All we can do is what we’re doing and hope something gets through to her.” She yarned
“So Minister,” Stewart didn’t know how to begin, he needed to choose his words carefully in regards to the subject. He sat on the couch across from Harry and Gail, in Harry’s office. “We need to get the tabloid situation under control. Ever since Rita Skeeter printed that photo this has moved from tabloids to news. Politician sex scandal is a hot story.”
Harry just stared at Stewart. First he tried to remember why he even had a publicist. Second he thought how dare, he use the words sex scandal involving his wife. Third politicians seemed to get into trouble in the wizarding world just as well as they do in the muggle world. He tried to put any irritated comment aside and said, “What do you have in mind?”
“I was thinking perhaps you and Mrs. Potter could spend some time together publicly,” he suggested.
Harry knew right away he was going to have trouble convincing Ginny to do that. “I don’t know if Ginny will agree to that.”
“I think it would help put the public’s mind at ease as far as the status of your relationship. I think you should do something before the state dinner on Tuesday.”
“If I may,” Gail said from behind her notepad. “Mrs. Potter’s schedule is packed this week,” she handed Harry her itinerary.
“Wow,” he said flipping to the next page, no wonder she got home so late on Friday. “I have the St. Mungos thing on Wednesday,” he turned back to the front page. “Which according to this Ginny will be at, that will look good right.”
“It’s a wing dedication it’s business”
“I’ll figure something out,” he handed the itinerary back to Gail.
“Minister it’s extremely important that we fix this. She has a target on her back. After all, you are our savior and Mr. Malfoy may be a prominent member of society but his family has been tied to dark arts.”
Harry took off his glasses and massaged the bridge of his nose, “I am not a savior. She is not unfaithful. She just has a questionable choice of friend. Which is odd considering she has the best judgment of anyone I know,” he sighed and put his glasses back on, “if anyone is to blame, it’s me. I am not a good husband. I choose legal briefs over my wife and leave her alone more then I should. And it bothers her. Instead of telling me to stop she encourages me. So whatever damage control she wants to do, I will do. You are not to make a fuss if she says no.”
Harry’s car slowed in front of his house. He climbed out in time to see Ginny’s car pull up behind his, she climbed out of the back, all done up in her evening wear. Harry whistled, “don’t you look snazzy”
She did a spin before walking over to him, “this old thing.”
He kissed her, “how was your night.”
“Boring until dessert was served, double chocolate cake. It was heavenly,” she grinned.
“It sounds good. Are you tired?”
“A bit, why?”
“Let’s go for a walk”
“Now, it’s freezing”
“I’ll keep you warm.”
She smiled, “we should let the team go off duty…”
“Just around the block, the perimeter is covered. It’s not a big deal.”
“Gentlemen, we’re just going to walk around the block, you guys have a good night,” Harry addressed both his and Ginny’s security detail. He took Ginny’s hand they began to walk down the street. Ginny rested her head against his arm. “I know we weren’t going to make a big deal about the Malfoy problem but Stewart has been all over me.”
Ginny shook her head shamefully, “You need to learn to keep him at bay, I keep Pat at arm’s length and I sleep better at night. Besides there is no problem, I could care less what other people think”
“I know but there is a problem when it’s taking the media attention away from other issues.”
“The Prophet’s not reporting it…”
“That’s because Barnabas Cuffe loves you,” said Harry. It was true Barnabas Cuffe loved Ginevra Potter ever since she was Ginevra Weasley and premiered with the Holyhead Harpies. He considers himself her number one fan but mostly he thinks she’s the most beautiful woman in the world and can do no wrong. The Daily Prophet did report things about their head of sports and her Minister Husband but never gossip.
“I am quite the charmer.” She sighed, “What do you want to do?”
“Date night in the wizarding world”
“We don’t have a date night”
“We should have one starting now and let’s keep it.”
Ginny thought about Harry’s idea. It was nice but scenes of her sitting alone in restaurants waiting for him kept flashing in her mind. “… Only the first would have to be done in the wizarding world, correct.”
“Some of them would have to be, that’s the whole point of damage control but not all of them.”
Ginny didn’t really want to do damage control she wanted to wait it out until some celebrity shoplifts and she becomes old news. But Harry wanted to do this and there was that one time his arch enemy put his lips on her. She really shouldn’t but she feels guilty. Then there was her poor decision to still hang out with said man and now Harry’s personal life is on the front page. “Fine when do you want to go out, Friday?”
“I can’t I’m going to be late”
Harry looked as if he was thinking about something, “how about next Wednesday the rest of my week is really bad”
“It was a nice idea darling”
“It’s a great idea. I can do Thursday if you’re willing to go late.”
“I suppose the children of Gilda’s Prep will be done making my ears bleed by then,” she mused aloud.
“My god, how could she do such a thing”
“I know after everything he’s done, he doesn’t deserve this,” one photographer said to the other as they stood outside of the restaurant in Diagon Alley where Harry was having dinner with Ginny.
“You always have to look out for the lovely ones. If she’s a looker you know she’ll be more trouble than she’s worth,” he shook his head.
Ginny spun her wine glass around using the stem. She was supposed to be having a romantic dinner with her husband but given the onlookers in the restaurant and band of photographers outside, this was anything but romantic. This was all her doing, if she hadn’t become friends with Draco, Harry wouldn’t have listened to his publicist Stewart Henderson and they wouldn’t be on this public date to show all is well.
She was also regretting asking him how his day was. She was interested but she didn’t feel like discussing politics right now. She picked up her wine glass and took a huge gulp. She could change the subject but she didn’t know what to change it to. It’s not as if he had time to focus on anything else.
“Are you okay”
“Hm,” she shook herself back into reality
“Where were you just now?”
“Nowhere,” she smiled softly.
He reached across the table and took her hand, “thank you for agreeing to do this.”
“It was the least I could do,” she smiled weakly, “plus having dinner with my husband isn’t so bad. I wish it happened more often.”
“Well let’s make Thursday’s our night.”
“As long as we don’t have to do it in the wizarding world, I want to be with you, without an audience.”
“As you wish”
“How was everything,” the waitress asked coming over to clear the table.
“It was lovely thank you,” Harry smiled up at her.
“Great, can I interest you in dessert?”
“Will you split a tiramisu with me,” Ginny grinned at Harry
“We’ll take one order of tiramisu and two forks,” Harry said to the waitress
“Excellent I’ll be right back,” she smiled.
They sat there quietly when the waitress disappeared, what to say? “Lily wants a big sixteenth birthday party,” when all else fails tell him everything he doesn’t know about his children.
Harry snorted, “I would sooner tango with Voldemort.”
“It’s not that serious darling, of course I told her no. James’s art show is April 16.”
“He got a show for that lighting series?” Harry had no idea that James had even got an offer from a gallery.
“It got him the show but he’s presenting new pieces.”
“Here is your dessert,” the waitress said placing the plate down on the table and then two forks, “enjoy,” she said before walking away.
“Great, he hasn’t bothered me for rent in awhile perhaps he’ll sell out and we can keep the pattern going,” he watched Ginny dig into the tiramisu. “Is it good,” she nodded because her mouth was full. Harry took a fork full.
“Also, Al has been offered the chance to intern at the International Confederation of Wizards this summer.”
“Won’t that interfere with him coaching junior Quidditch?”
“No, the internship is only for the month of August. He doesn’t want to stay with Percy.”
“I don’t blame him,” laughed Harry
“Hey that’s my brother”
“I know and I love him as if he were my own flesh and blood, but could you imagine being stuck in a house with him for a month.”
Ginny smiled, “yes I can, growing up in the same house and all.”
“So he wants us to pay to put him up somewhere else.”
“Exactly, although I am a bit worried about him going all by himself,” she sighed as she put more of the chocolate dessert on her fork.
“You said the same thing when James moved out and he only lives fifteen minutes away.”
“I know but its Al, he’s my baby boy,” she whined.
“I know love but he’ll be fine, besides even if he doesn’t stay with Percy we most certainly will tell him where he is so he can keep an eye on him.”
Ginny laughed, “Percy is really good at showing up unannounced.”
“I noticed when I found him asleep in our kitchen.”
“I forgot to tell you he came.”
“It’s not a big deal. You get use to having people in your house after awhile,” he shrugged.
Rita Skeeter closed the book, “I couldn’t help but notice you’ve been rather quiet Tilden.”
“I’m just enjoying the tale,” he lied.
“Really,” she raised an eyebrow, “I wouldn’t have thought.”
“Well you thought wrong, it’s been… quite informative, please continue,” he smirked.
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